Fusarium head blight (FHB) is more than irritating, it’s costly. With wheat prices at relatively healthy levels, taking a downgrade at the elevator for any reason can be frustrating.
It’s bad enough if a downgrade comes from something you can’t control – like an untimely frost at harvest causing kernel damage. But when you’re downgraded for something within your control, like FHB? Well, that’s a different level of frustration.
The maximum tolerance for FHB-damage at primary elevators is incredibly low. In No. 1 CWRS, for example, if you have 0.25% or more fusarium damaged kernels (FDK), you’re going to be downgraded. In No. 2 CWRS, it’s 0.8% FDK.
So, while lost yield is a factor with FHB, the economic losses from downgrading are a bigger consideration for farmers. Bayer internal and external market development results have found that without a fungicide application, the impact of fusarium head blight is an average yield loss is 6 bu./ac1. Commodity price and deductions from March 2023 indicate that the average downgrade deduction is $1.63 per bushel2, which, when looking at an 82 bu./ac. yield can lead to a net loss of $173.44/ac.
Have a plan, be vigilant
Fusarium head blight is caused by Fusarium graminearum, a fungus that attacks the heads of cereal crops. Disease spores develop on infected crop residue and are carried by wind or rain
splash to infect the head during that flowering. If untreated, FHB causes kernels to take on a pinkish hue, or shrivel and become chalky white.
To combat FHB, you must have a management plan in place, ready to go, and you have to be vigilant about crop staging because your spray window is narrow.
The ideal time to apply a preventative fungicide is at T3, during flowering. Spray between when 75% of wheat heads (on the main stem) have fully emerged and when 50% of heads are in flower. It’s tight, but doable!
This timing will not only protect your crop against FHB, but it will also help to control any leaf diseases that may be present in the field so you can protect yield potential, quality and shoot for No. 1 grade at the elevator.
Bayer can help with Prosaro® PRO fungicide. With three powerful active ingredients, Prosaro PRO protects your wheat against FHB and other key leaf and head diseases, such as ergot, rust and tan spot while maximizing yield potential.
Learn more about FHB, and how to recognize, manage and combat it from one of our Bayer experts and maybe you’ll become an expert too, watch now.
For more information please contact your local Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centre.
1 Bayer Internal and External Market Development FHB trial results. 2020-2022.
2 Commodity price & deductions based on March 8, 2023.
Your results may vary depending on agronomic, environmental, pest and disease pressure variables.
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bayer, Bayer Cross and Prosaro® are trademarks of Bayer Group. Used under license. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a member of CropLife Canada. © 2023 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.